Okay so if I haven’t already told you or if you don’t already know, I’M AN ENGLISH STUDENT. I basically mould myself into the stereotype but it’s pretty easy because I’m a nerd. Anyways, being all artsy and pretending to be clever all the time is a lot more taxing than you’d think – I don’t just read a book and suddenly remember quotes from random paragraphs (unless it’s Sylvia Plath). When I’m not reading Nabokov’s collected poems or doing what is usually pretentious, I will be teddy-bear rolling to Ariana Grande because I’m a basic bitch and proud.
Today there are so many labelled categories we place ourselves into and feel included. Remember the wave of hipsters flooding independent coffee shops? And the geeky glasses, big beards and veganism that were so cool for 10 seconds. There was also on fleek eyebrows, fashion blogging and being politically correct. None of these things were/ are bad. Obviously being more open-minded has aided the progression of millennials. However, within these labelled groups there is a hierarchy. For some reason the basic white girl is socially less than the intelligent hipster. These categorisations of people are not new but are fuelled by the presence of social media auditing every Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to label an individual.
I have friends that are literal stereotypes. For instance, my beautiful Lucia is a blue-haired vegan lesbian and self-professed Brightoner. She is also one of the most caring and spirited people I know. Just because of how she looked I never thought ‘oh she’s gay’. Turns out she is but that doesn’t degrade her identity or tick off a criteria for her to be a vegan or a Brightoner. For me identity has always been an area of crisis. I love reading, I love vinyls, I love pinafores and berets. But I also love tacky romcoms, sparkly dresses and classic ’00s hip hop. So I feel unlabelled.
I reckon for everyone there is a fluidity to identity. We all shape ourselves depending on trends, fads or boredom. Now that it’s 2017, there is no right way to identify but a multitude of choice. Having more choice includes more people but also divides more people. If there is more classification there is also a greater complexity of division. Then there’s the people in-between, like Tina who wears granny clothes and raps to Kendrick Lamar.
Being part of social groups is great if you feel like yourself and have friends that support it but there is no need for antonymous groups to fire hate at them for being different. It used to always be the case that ‘weird’ people were outcasted and cumulated at the margins to create their own group i.e. hipsters. But now that it’s mainstream to not be mainstream and the ‘cool’ kids are ‘basic’.
Our lovely social media has played a great hand in constructing identity while also disparaging them. If I see one more tweet dissing Love Island or one more Facebook status complaining about basic girls in Starbucks taking selfies on there iPhone 7+, I will delete all my social media accounts (I probably won’t). It is so frustrating how social media allows for self-expression with the certain backlash of judgement. A very prominent example from the past few weeks is Taylor Swift. Firstly, Vogue Magazine, how can you support Taylor Swift for years on end and then post shit about her a few days after ‘Look What You Made me Do’??? None of us actually know Taylor Swift (unless you’re in her squad which is my ultimate life goal) so why is there a whirlwind of media constantly attacking (or praising) her? It seems we only like and hate people when it’s trendy to. I’m not defending this huge Kimye fiasco or whatever else she has been slammed about. But seriously, leave her alone. Ultimately, I’m just trying to point out that today we all love to focus on the negative parts of people, especially celebrities. Publicising the terrible parts of people can maybe momentarily make us feel better but are you really a good person if you can only feel good about yourself when someone else doesn’t?
In the end, it is really only a problem if you care. Just being yourself can have no consequences. Sure there’s haters and the feeling of exclusion but it’s 2017!!! Difference is everywhere, everyone is different. And everyone needs to stop hating. If I listen to the Top 40 on my way to see BP’s Portrait of the Year it really doesn’t affect anyone. Nor does it change who I am. So if Taylor Swift wants to share a song in defence of herself, everyone else ought to just listen to it rather than tweet hate about it.
Here’s to basic bitches, hipsters, emos, goths, chavs, transgender people, gay people, non-binary, vegans, carnivores and everyone because I can’t remember all the stupid labels.